skip to content

About the department

The Department of Political Science and European Affairs is a research-focused department at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne.

Academic enquiry into politics at the University of Cologne has a history of over one hundred years. In 1920, the very first professorship in politics at any German university was established at Cologne. In 1951, Heinrich Brüning, former chancellor of the Weimar Republic, became the first politics professor at the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences. In 1960, today’s department was formed from a UNESCO institute.

Seven professors and two emeritus professors as well as about 60 members of staff and doctoral students make up the department today. Several renowned research institutions are closely connected with the department. Many of its PhD students are based at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies. Within the department, several professors have pooled their resources to form the Cologne Center for Comparative Politics.

Research at the department focuses on comparative political science, political economy, empirical democratic theory, International Relations, European and multi-level politics as well as political science research methods. In terms of research reputation, the department is among the most renowned departments in Germany. In the 2021 Shanghai Ranking, the department takes the top spot among politics departments in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state. A current research project, for example, explores the impact of minority governments on political representation. The project is funded by the European Research Council with two million euros.

In addition to the study programmes in social sciences, teaching includes a number of joint programmes of several faculties, for example in regional studies. Especially noteworthy is the research-focused, English-language Master’s programme in Political Science, which reflects the department’s international outlook and offers students an empirical and analytical focus with a strong methods training.

The department has its own library with a collection of more than 32,000 items, many of which are also available digitally. The team of librarians are there to support students with their literature research.